Hiring new technical talent is a complicated and complex undertaking that can take many years to fine-tune.
The idea seems simple right? Hire a person who can show up on time, do the job, follow through on tasks, get along with our team, and make our customers happy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen to our expectation. We should not get discouraged by this challenge as hiring qualified people is possible. Even though we have experienced those moments when we come to the realization that another painful hiring mistake was made, we can bounce back and find that qualified person who aligns culturally and technically with our core values and beliefs. Please take note there is no magical formula in finding qualified hard-working people. If there was such a formula our world and the small business community would be a much better place. None the less, all companies go through hiring and firing pain as we grow. One challenge we face is that people misrepresent themselves during the interview so it’s our job to be extremely disciplined to perform our due diligence to save ourselves time and money and find the person that is going to deliver successful results.
Define the Interview Steps and Questions: Defining our hiring process and breaking it up into steps with specific questions is key to hiring a great employee. In other words, be clear with the candidate about our hiring process. During the initial phone interview tell them about the process. Let them know our company will be interviewing multiple candidates and will make our decision by x date. For example, we have four interviews. The first, second, third, and fourth accomplish x, y, and z. This allows the candidate to be more comfortable and we want to paint a picture of how their life will look like working for us. Lastly, determine if the candidate is interviewing at other jobs and what their goal is in terms of making a change and when. All this information is valuable for everyone involved. Remember that old saying, hire slow fire fast. Do not rush into a hire based on a gut feeling.
Define the Role & Responsibilities: Before listing the job opportunity online to the various employment web-sites be sure to be specific about the requirements, job responsibilities, and the outcome of a job well done. For example, we create a specific bullet-list of all the tasks the resource will need to fulfill. Also, sit down with the team and collaborate on this process and learn from them what results they are looking for and how this new resource can better everyone’s job functions. Moreover, be sure to include questions in the online posting to validate people are actually reading the post. Basically, this addresses if candidates pay attention to detail. A large majority of candidates just submit resume’s to every job they find online. Lastly, once all the applications arrive rank and score them based on criteria such as culture, aptitude, technical knowledge, etc. and schedule some phone interviews.
The Phone Interview: The phone interview is a great opportunity to see how the candidate manages his/her time in addition to hearing how they sound on the phone and communicate verbally. If they take the process of finding a new job seriously they will be on time, communicate clearly, and ask questions about the job role and company. First impressions are very important so the candidate should be conscious of this fact and should call on time and be organized in the call. If you experience some red flags do not ignore them as chances are this is going to be more of the same or even worse after the fact. We also try and be very clear about determining if they can do the job. Dig deep into the top three responsibilities that are absolutely required. For example, make sure they can be on time each day and that the commute from home to work is reasonable. See if they can calculate how much time it would take to get from A to Z during peak and non-peak hours. Our biggest pet peeve in our business is when employees show up late. We were always taught if you are not 15 minutes early, then you are late. As ridiculous as this sounds, some people cannot show up to work on time and that is a giant red flag and this is one issue we will not tolerate. We do not want people on our team who cannot accomplish step one each day. Lastly, talk with them about the company’s core values and beliefs. Begin the process of determining if they are a good cultural fit because this is extremely important for everyone in the company including our customers. For example, we are the I.T. Company who cares. We ask them about past experiences in terms of what they have done for others in a positive caring way. These stories can expose a lot about a person’s character and help us with the core hiring decision.
Behavioral, Aptitude, and Skills Testing: Never trust your gut when hiring instead use objective measurement. Behavioral testing is a great way to understand different points of a candidate’s personality. We shouldn’t really use a behavioral test to make the final hiring decision, but they are a great sanity check to see if their profile lines up with the role. Aptitude testing determines if they have the capability to learn and have the right logic in general. If the candidate can demonstrate the ability to learn with the right logic we can teach them the proper skills to do the job. We cannot teach someone logic so this is important. Lastly, determine if they can perform the job and use the tools. Create a test and have them prove they can use the tools proficiently and understand the technology.